Study abroad numbers on the rise

“Study abroad numbers on the rise”

by Jonathan Gass via “The Varsity

MALLIKA MAKKAR/THE VARSITY

When Meric Gertler began his term as the sixteenth president of the University of Toronto in November 2013, he referenced the need to strengthen and deepen international partnerships as one of the main priorities of the university. The need to enhance research links between Canadian and foreign education institutions was also sighted as a target of the new International Education Strategy launched by the Harper government in early 2014.

Despite concerted efforts to encourage more students to spend time overseas, it is relatively uncommon for U of T students to study abroad.

Five hundred and eighty-nine U of T students will participate in the Centre for International Experience (CIE)’s Student Exchange Program during the 2014–2015 academic year. This figure, which draws from students at both the St. George and Mississauga campuses, represents a 20 per cent increase from the 2012–2013 academic year. However, it remains a very small percentage of the 42,686 students at St. George and the 12,741 students at UTM.

Many students interviewed cited the perceived cost of studying abroad, including travel costs and the possibility of higher living expenses, as reasons for not studying abroad. Other students cited commitments to student groups on campus.

Still, many students are simply unaware of overseas study opportunities.

In the past, the CIE has undertaken efforts to enhance its outreach and inform students about the university’s exchange programs, as well as the scholarships and bursaries offered by various U of T offices for study abroad.

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Ban the Hugs: Studying Abroad, American-Style

Ban the Hugs: Studying Abroad, American-Style

by Alexandra Talty via “Forbes

I was 18 years old with my three other newfound friends and we were quite literally stuck in the steep cliffs of Cinqueterra, Italy. Our fifth friend floundered below us, off the main path and unable to get back to us. What began as a kind gesture to rescue our friend’s camera off the cliff below turned into a three-hour rescue mission that included five policemen, a boat with a flood light, a helicopter and a rappelling rock climb rescue. Plus the twenty-odd Italian spectators.  It was my second week studying abroad in Florence, Italy.

Although it was my last encounter with the Italian police, it was a classic welcome to the fickle nature of study abroad, where when you try to go to the safe, touristic destination your friend gets stuck on a cliff. There are a lot of aspects of the study abroad experience that can be intimidating. Everything from how to cross the road to  greetings (Americans, take note: kisses!) is different. Added into the mix is the fact that you are thousands of miles away from home, without your usual familial or friend support system. It is a lot. However, most students who have had successful study abroad experiences recommend one thing: saying yes.

Caroline Guenther at the Great Wall of China during her junior year of high school. She spent a year in Beijing through School Year Abroad. Photo credit: Caroline Guenther.

“There are so many ways you can fall back into your comfort zone,” says James Storch, a Senior Associate at Morningside Translations, who spent the summer of 2008 in Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany. “When you are abroad, you have the opportunity to live and discover a place for a finite amount of time, it is especially important to say yes to an invitation or an event that comes up. Even if you are not feeling particularly up for it or necessarily interested in it.”

While this might take you to a heavy metal concert in an abandoned elementary school that, shockingly, was not as fun as you had imagined, it could also lead to high points, like exploring the Northern Italian countryside during a wine festival in Trieste.

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“Open Doors 2013: International Students in the United States and Study Abroad by American Students are at All-Time High”

Hey guys, accord to this, “fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate years.”–That’s atrocious! There are actually fewer options available to graduate students, so check out the opportunities now!

“Open Doors 2013: International Students in the United States and Study Abroad by American Students are at All-Time High”

Press Release via “Open Doors

“November 11, 2013—The 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by seven percent to a record high of 819,644 students in the 2012/13 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by three percent to an all-time high of more than 283,000.

In 2012/13, 55,000 more international students enrolled in U.S. higher education compared to 2011/12, with most of the growth driven by China and Saudi Arabia. This marks the seventh consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education. There are now 40 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than a decade ago, and the rate of increase has risen steadily for the past three years. International students make up slightly under four percent of total student enrollment at the graduate and undergraduate level combined. International students’ spending in all 50 states contributed approximately $24 billion to the U.S. economy.

The number of U.S. students who studied abroad for academic credit increased by three percent to 283,332 students in 2011/12, a higher rate of growth than the one percent increase the previous year. More U.S. students went to Latin America and China, and there was a rebound in those going to Japan as programs reopened in Fall 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Study abroad by American students has more than tripled over the past two decades, from approximately 71,000 students in 1991/92 to the record number in 2011/12. Despite these increases, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate years. . . . .”